Press Report: NGYouthSDGs and ILO Host Virtual Side Event on Youth Leadership and Partnership for the 2030 Agenda

Lagos, Nigeria – On Wednesday, January 31, 2024, Nigeria Youth SDGs registered as the Network of Youth for Sustainable Initiative (NGYouthSDGs) in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) hosted a virtual side event during the 2024 UN ECOSOC Partnership Forum. The theme ‘Youth Leadership and Partnership in Achieving the 2030 Agenda, brought together youth stakeholders and young people across Nigeria to deliberate on and inspire collective actions towards the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In her opening remarks, Dr Vanessa Phala, Director of the Abuja Country Office of the International Labour Organisation reflected on the importance of youth leadership and employment for sustainable development in Nigeria and across the world. According to Dr Phala, “The youth demography presents a very rich pool of talent and potential as crystallise in an evolving national landscape of the creative and digital economy that has undoubtedly transformed the reality and perception of young representation in entrepreneurial skills and generated private sector employment for young people”. She emphasised that meaningful youth engagement is not limited to economic gains but also links to social and political aspects leading to national development to address key challenges and direct development of leadership capabilities for young people.

The Honourable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development, Dr Jamila Bio Ibrahim, in her keynote address, stated that the potential of youth is not confined to tomorrow but a force that can be harnessed today to drive meaningful change. According to Dr Jamila, “Education is the cornerstone for leadership and the Ministry of Youth Development is committed to ensuring curriculum reforms, technological integration and partnerships with Educational Institutions to create a dynamic environment.” She also hinted at the transformative initiatives that will create room for partnerships and opportunities that will address unemployment among Nigerian youth.

The event panel, made up of Mr Augustine Erameh, Employment and Migration Officer at the International Labour Organisation, Abuja, Ms Ebiho Agun, Assistant Director, Federal Ministry of Youth Development, Dr Muttaqa Yusha’u, Head of Education and Training Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Joshua Alade, Executive Director of NGYouthSDGs and moderated by NGYouthSDGs Programmes Associate Ms Boluwatife Ajayi, focused on designing and implementing targeted programmes that will support the decent work opportunities of youth and youth leadership in the process.

Speaking on decent jobs for young people, Mr Augustine Erameh stated that more attention is needed in understanding the evolving world of work to help young people develop skills that will plug them into the future of work. Dr Muttaqa Yusha’u added that more collaboration is needed in providing vocational training, and skills development, especially in the creative sector. It was also interesting to have Mr Joshua Alade emphasise the need for collaboration and intergenerational connectivity between young people and old people to drive Sustainable Development Goals.

Ms Ebiho Agun also spoke on the need to support relevant institutions to institutionalise programs with a long-term approach to solving unemployment in Nigeria.

The event provided a platform for government, international development partners, civil society organisations, and young people to discuss ways of collaborating effectively, strategies for addressing challenges in partnerships, and best practices in youth leadership and partnerships with a focus on decent work for young people. The Communications Associate at NGYouthSDGs, Ms Praise Okezie, expressed gratitude to all stakeholders, individuals, and civil society organisations in attendance, bringing the event to a close.

Kindly click here to access the replay of the event.